Asylum is a place where people can go to seek refuge from persecution or harm. The term is often used interchangeably with “sanctuary.” Still, an asylum can also be a temporary or permanent place of residence for people who have been displaced by conflict or natural disaster.
Asylums may be run by government agencies, religious organizations, or private charities, and they can provide services such as food, shelter, and medical care. In many countries, asylum seekers are entitled to certain legal protections, but the specifics vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Critics of the asylum system argue that it is being abused by people who are not genuine refugees and that the process for determining who qualifies for asylum is too lenient. However, advocates point out that the system is intended to protect the most vulnerable people in our society and that those who abuse the system represent a small minority of cases.
Where to seek help?
If you seek asylum in the United States, a few legal resources can help you. One place to start is the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA is a nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrants. They can help you find an immigration attorney specializing in asylum law and provide you with information about the asylum process.
Another resource is the Refugee and Asylum Law Clinic at Harvard Law School. The clinic offers free legal assistance to low-income refugees and asylum seekers. They can help you with the asylum application process and represent you in court if necessary.
Finally, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also assists refugees and asylum seekers. They can help you with your asylum application and provide you with information about resettlement programs in other countries.
Who seeks asylum?
According to international law, asylum seekers are people who have fled their home country due to persecution or fear of violence. To be eligible for asylum, refugees must provide evidence that they are at risk of harm due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or membership in a particular social group.
Refugees are given legal protections if granted asylum and can eventually apply for citizenship. The United Nations Refugee Agency estimated that there were almost 26 million refugees globally as of 2019. Most refugees come from Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
While Europe and North America have historically been the destinations of choice for asylum seekers, in recent years, African and Asian countries have been hosts to the majority of refugees. Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya are currently the top five refugee-hosting countries in the world.
How to seek asylum?
Determine if you qualify for asylum
Determining whether you qualify for asylum can be a complicated process. Several factors must be considered, including your country of origin, the reasons for your persecution, and your current situation.
The first step is to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who can help you determine if you meet the criteria for asylum. If you do, the next step is to apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This application must include detailed information about your past persecution and current situation.
Once your application is filed, USCIS will review it and decide whether to grant you asylum. You will be allowed to live and work in the United States indefinitely if granted asylum.
Gather evidence of your persecution or fear of violence
Seeking asylum can be a complex and daunting process, but it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Many organizations and individuals can offer support and advice along the way. The first step is to gather evidence of your persecution or fear of violence.
This may include police reports, hospital records, or letters from family or friends. Once you have collected this evidence, you will need to contact an asylum seeker organization or solicitor who can help you to make your claim.
The final stage of the process is an interview with the Home Office, during which you will need to explain why you are seeking asylum. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to seeking asylum, and each case is unique. However, with the proper support, it is possible to navigate the process and start rebuilding your life in safety.
Apply for asylum with the appropriate government agency
Many agencies and governments handle asylum applications, and it can be challenging to know where to start. The first step is to research the agencies that deal with asylum cases in your country of origin. Once you have identified the appropriate agency, you must gather all the necessary documentation. This includes proof of your identity, travel documents, and evidence that you are eligible for asylum.
Once you have all the required documents, you will need to submit them to the agency and your application. The agency will then review your case and decide whether or not to grant you asylum. If your application is approved, you will be permitted to stay in the country and receive protection from persecution. If your application is denied, you may be able to appeal the decision.
How long does the process take?
Seeking asylum can be a long and complicated process, but there are a few things that you can do to make it as smooth as possible. First and foremost, it is essential to research the asylum process in your country of choice; each country has its requirements and procedures.
Once you have a good understanding of the process, gather all of the necessary documentation, such as birth certificates and passports. Next, contact the embassy or consulate of your chosen country and set an appointment. During the meeting, you will need to present your documentation and explain your reasons for seeking asylum.
If everything goes well, you will be granted asylum and be able to start your new life. However, if your application is denied, you will have to appeal the decision or try again at a later date. Either way, seeking asylum is a long and challenging journey, but it is worth it for those genuinely in need.
If granted asylum, receive legal protections and eventually apply for citizenship
When an individual is granted asylum in the United States, they are legally protected from being deported back to their home country. Additionally, they are allowed to work and receive other benefits, such as healthcare.
After living in the U.S. for a certain period, individuals who have been granted asylum are also eligible to apply for citizenship. An asylum application process can be long and complicated, but it gives individuals a chance to start over in a safe and welcoming country. For many people, being granted asylum is a life-changing opportunity.
Work with us!
If you are seeking asylum in the United States, Ruby Powers Law can help. We have extensive experience helping individuals navigate the complex asylum process and will do everything possible to help you receive the protection you need. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you start rebuilding your life.